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(CNN) - On August 19, Buckingham Palace issued a statement signed by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who emphasized the distancing of British royalty from the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
"His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion that he would tolerate, participate or encourage such behavior is abhorrent," he said in one part.
The statement came days after The Mail On Sunday published granulated video images that according to the British newspaper showed the prince at the door of Epstein's house in Manhattan in 2010.
By then, Epstein was a registered sex offender who had avoided a federal trial at that time and was only 13 months in jail on state prostitution charges for his involvement with underage girls. He was accused of paying hundreds of dollars in cash to girls as young as 14 to have sex with him at his home in the Upper East Side and his property in Palm Beach, Florida, and paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse them.
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In 2015, one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said in federal court that she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was a minor. Prince Andrew has "emphatically denied" any sexual contact with Virginia Roberts.
While the statement was intended to clarify the details of a relationship that had plagued the British prince for almost a decade, the reality is that it had ended years before in a dramatic chain of events, some of which had never been told before.
The friendship of more than a decade between Prince Andrew and Epstein, who died by suicide in his cell on August 10, ended in the spring of 2011, when Epstein threatened to take legal action against Prince Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson , the Duchess of York.
Photograph in which the Duke of York appears with Virgina Guifre, one of Epstein's denouncing women, and Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein get and “prepare” young minors as alleged social slaves.
According to interviews with three people with direct knowledge of the events, Epstein was enraged in late February 2011 after the New York Post published a photograph of the prince walking in Central Park with Epstein in late December 2010.
The attached article, titled ”Prince & Perv generated a barrage of negative publicity about a year's prince's friendship with Epstein. On March 7, 2011, Sarah Ferguson publicly admitted that she had accepted GBP 15,000 ($ 9,305) from Epstein to help pay an employee to whom she owed money.
Following the advice of his publicist, James Henderson, the Duchess gave an interview to the London Evening Standard in which he expressed extreme regret for his lack of judgment in accepting Epstein's funds. With the interview, he put a clear division between her and Epstein. "I hate pedophilia," he said, adding that he had no knowledge of Epstein's alleged relationship with underage girls when he took the money.
According to Henderson, Epstein's reaction to Ferguson's statement was quick and dramatic. First Henderson received what he described as a "deeply unpleasant" phone call from Epstein, who threatened Henderson with a libel claim if a statement was not issued retracting the word "pedophile."
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"It was so unpleasant that I was a bit stunned and kept his number so I wouldn't have to answer a call from him again," Henderson told CNN.
The duchess then received a letter threatening legal action from an Epstein lawyer and demanding a retraction, according to Henderson. The letter was sent to Ferguson's lawyer at Schillings in London, according to Henderson, who says he advised the duchess not to retract his statement.
Soon after, Epstein, who had hired the services of the Los Angeles advertising firm Sitrick & Company years before, now turned to Sitrick to get help with the case. The director and founder of the firm, Michael Sitrick, said he recommended that Epstein hire a new lawyer, UK lawyer Paul Tweed, an expert in defamation cases.
That solution did not work. Sitrick ended up suing Epstein for not paying his bills, and Tweed finally stopped working for him too. Tweed told CNN that he stopped working on the matter after "my advice was not acceptable to Epstein."
According to court documents related to Sitrick's lawsuit against Epstein and obtained by CNN, Sitrick employees, in consultation with Tweed, attempted to construct a language to propose to Fergie that it serve as a kind of retraction by the Duchess of York
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At one point, Henderson says he was shown a draft statement asking for a retraction of each of the duchess's comments.
Finally, everything was in vain. On Henderson's advice, the duchess never recanted her statements. Records show that in 2014 Sitrick sued Epstein for paying more than $ 71,000 in unpaid bills and received a ruling in his favor.
In a bit of irony, while the incident marked the end of the relationship between Epstein and Prince Andrew, it also led to a friendship between Tweed and the former royal couple. Tweed was photographed last week playing golf with Prince Andrew.
The duchess had been so impressed by his tenacity in 2011 that he ended up hiring him a few years later, according to Henderson.
However, Epstein's problem has continued to affect the Duke of York, especially since Giuffre's accusations were made public in 2015. (A photograph of the Duke with his arm around Giuffre's waist supposedly taken in 2001 appeared for the first time. in the British media Mail on Sunday in 2011).
A federal judge ruled that some documents related to the case could be disclosed.
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Giuffre's lawyers have requested a meeting with the Duke to explore his relationship with Epstein. He did not respond to his requests, according to Giuffre's lawyers. Buckingham Palace reiterated its statement that Prince Andrew had never had any form of sexual contact with Giuffre.
On Friday, September 20, Giuffre reiterated his accusations about Prince Andrew on NBC's Today Show, where he appeared with five other alleged Epstein victims. In the segment, Giuffre recounts an incident in which he went to a club in London with Epstein, his close friend Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew. On the car ride from the club, Giuffre said that Maxwell told him that the prince would return to his home and that he wanted her to "do for him what you do for Epstein."
"I just couldn't believe it," Giuffre Roberts told NBC. "I couldn't believe that even royalty was involved."
In a statement to CNN, Buckingham Palace said it “emphatically denies that the Duke of York had any form of contact or sexual relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any statement to the contrary is false and without foundation. ”